Potterybarning is a term derived from The Pottery Barn Rule in American political jargon ("You break it, you bought it). It is a social outcome where a soft transference of ownership/responsibility of a particular task from one individual occurs following a question, criticism, or offer of assistance by another. It occurs because the person being questioned views the questioning as a soft block of an idea, an attack on their competence, or (less evily) an unspoken offer to take over responsibility.
- An example
- Person A "We should get a truck!"
- Person B "Well, how much will that cost?"
- Person A "Look, we've wanted this for a long time. Do you want to find that out and let us know?"
- Person B "(to self) I thought I was asking a question, not taking on a commitment!"
- Person A (after long stunned pause by B) "I'm trying to empower you!"